Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Fresh Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

This evening we will celebrate both my daughter’s birthday  (2 weeks ago) and my son-in-law’s birthday (2 days ago) with a family dinner.  We’ll have spaghetti and meat sauce, rolls, salad.  For dessert, we’ll enjoy a Fresh Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  This recipe is one that my mother-in-law has made for years, and it’s my daughter’s AND my son-in-law’s favorite.  As my daughter says, “It is OH SO GOOD!”  Not too difficult to make – and delicious and moist.


2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups oil

1 cup nuts, chopped finely

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp. soda

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. baking powder

3 cups apples (peeled, chopped finely)

Preheat over to 350.  Grease three 9-inch round cake pans with Crisco and flour.  (I always line the pans with waxed paper, too). 

Combine sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Beat well.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar/eggs mixture.  Finally add the apples and nuts.  Mix well. 

Pour into the cake pans and cook for approx. 30 minutes.  You can also make this in a bundt pan and cook for an hour.  (My daughter’s note: “It is the icing that is so good and you get less icing if you use a bundt pan).

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese

1 stick butter

1 cup finely chopped nuts

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 box powdered sugar

Let the cream cheese and butter soften.  Add the vanilla.  Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until well mixed.  Add the nuts.  

Once the cake layers have cooled, spread the frosting on them – one layer at time.  VOILA!  Delicious! 

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Blogalicious – Rich, Bloggy Goodness!

Friday, January 5th, 2007

I got my BLOGALICIOUS cookbook in the mail yesterday. What fun! I like the subtitles: “A Cookbook of Favorite Recipes from the Blogosphere” and “Rich, Bloggy Goodness.” I love cookbooks anyway, but this one is especially enjoyable to read. Most of the recipes are authentic recipes. Others are just for fun. I’m honored that I was asked for three of my recipes. There are recipes from well-known and not-so-well-known bloggers. And I might add that Glenn Reynolds’ (Instapundit) foreword is succinct.



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A New Year’s Day Meal – Carol Style (Hoppin’ John, Tossed Salad, Corn Sticks, Sweet Iced Tea)

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Today is New Year’s Day, and so I will cook my version of a New Year’s Day meal. Here’s the menu, the recipes and the symbolism – some serious and some definitely tongue-in-cheek:

Hoppin’ John

Tossed Salad


Sweet Iced Tea


Hoppin’ John

1 can mild tomato/jalopena mixture (RoTel) If you like things a little spicier, use regular RoTel.

2 cans black-eyed peas

1 can diced tomatoes (optional – I love tomatoes)

1/2 lb link of turkey sausage

Cut the turkey sausage into bite-size pieces – dump everything together and cook. You can serve this over rice or mix some rice in it, or eat it by itself with no rice. It’s delicious riceless or not.

Tossed Salad

Lots of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, grated carrots, diced bell peppers with grated cheddar cheese on top.

Cornbread Sticks

2 cups cornmeal MIX

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, well-beaten

buttermilk (enough to make a good batter)

Pour into cast iron cornstick pans that have been sprayed with Pam and pre-heated in a 425 oven. The batter should sizzle when you pour it into the pans. Bake until golden brown. Serve hot. I like to crumble a cornstick or two into my hoppin’ john.

Sweet Iced Tea

4 family-size tea bags

1 gallon distilled water (You don’t HAVE to use distilled water, but that’s what I always use).

1 cup Splenda

Put the tea bags in a 4-cup measuring cup, fill with some of the water and microwave on high for about 6 minutes. Let it sit (steep) for about 5 minutes. Pour into a pitcher and add the remaining water to make one gallon. Add the Splenda and stir. DELICIOUS and refreshing!


The blackeyed peas in the Hoppin’ John symbolize coins – a sign of prosperity for the new year. May there be lots of that in 2007. The turkey sausage symbolizes my American heritage – the wild turkeys from the first Thanksgiving. For me, it also reminds me of the land where RT and I are building a house – dozens of wild turkeys reside there. The tomatoes and jalopenas symbolize good taste and spiciness. May I never grow too old to be spicy.

The leaves of lettuce in the salad are a symbol of folding money – currency. Again, may there be lots of that in 2007. The tomatoes remind me of the fruits of summer, the carrots for year-round bounty, and the cheese for the perfection of aging (I wish!).

The corn in the cornsticks are another symbol of my American heritage. Enough corn for good health, enough oil to smooth out the rough places in life, an egg to remind me of the newness of life, and the buttermilk to remind me that the sour places in life make the good places all the more sweet. Baking the cornsticks in cast-iron pans reminds me of what the American pioneers used in their travels cross country to explore new lands.

The iced tea is symbolic of my Southern roots. Sweet iced tea is pure Southern! The Splenda makes it something I can drink without worrying about calories. RT and I go through a gallon of this tea about every two or three days. I make several gallons every single week. I have to admit that I almost always used decaf tea so I can drink it in the evenings without worrying about it affecting my sleep.

There you have it! A New Year’s day feast with some traditional and some Carol-grown symbolism attached.

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Moist Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting

Monday, December 25th, 2006

I’m writing this from my mother-in-law’s house.  I just ate a slice of cake that was out of this world. It’s a moist pound cake with caramel frosting.  Lillian, my MIL, agreed to give me the recipe.  Here it is:


3 cups plain flour

5 eggs

1 cup milk

2 3/4 cups sugar

2 sticks margarine, whipped

1 cup Crisco

2 tsp. vanilla or desired flavoring

Have ingredients at room temperature.  Cream together margarine, Crisco and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well;  add flour and milk alternately at low speed.  Add flavoring.  Grease and flour 3 nine-inch cake pans.  You can also cut waxed paper to fit in the bottom of the pans.  Pour batter into the pans, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  Cool and remove from pans.


Caramel Frosting

3 cups sugar

1 T all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup evaporated milk

3/4 cup margarine

1 tsp vanilla

Put 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small pan and heat until it completely melts and caramelizes – stirring constantly.  Set aside.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a heavy pan and bring to a boil.  Add the caramelized sugar to it.  Once it reaches a boil, boil for 5 minutes – stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and start mixing it with a mixer – up to 15 minutes until it’s the right consistency for frosting.

This cake and frosting are just about the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

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The Dinner A’Fare – The Meals are in the Freezer

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Last  night my daughter, Stinkeroo, and I met at The Dinner A’Fare and each of us made 12 dinners.  Well, I only made eleven because they didn’t get the meat for one of the dinners I had requested.  I’ll get that meal today.  And that’s okay with me.  I would rather wait till today to get that meal and have fresh, good quality meat than have whatever they could find yesterday.   Yesterday I wrote about my anticipation for this adventure.

Here are my notes from last night (MENTAL notes – I didn’t write anything down at the time!)

(1)  It was fun!  Stinkeroo and I talked and laughed the whole time.

(2)  The ingredients were fresh and of high quality, and the stations were well stocked. 

(3)  The place was clean, and sanitation was emphasized.  We each had to wear an apron and hat (provided).

(4) The directions were clear and easy to follow.  As each meal was completed, there were “customer refrigerators” where we put the finished meal to chill until we were finished with them all.  There were also cards for each dish with detailed directions for thawing and cooking them.  The cards were packaged with each finished dish.

(5) The only down side was that they had no provision for getting the twelve meals to the car.  Why not have boxes and/or coolers available for purchase for whoever needs them?  I would’ve paid a couple bucks for a cardboard box to keep my meals for sliding around the trunk on the way home last night.  Next time I’ll bring my own box or cooler.

(6) The meals look good.  We will try our first one tonight.  I’ll let you know about the taste.

(7) There was another woman there last night who had made meals at “Supper Thyme” (a similar make-dinner-ahead-and-freeze-it place) a couple times, and she had enjoyed those meals.  She felt that “The Dinner A’Fare” had more variety, and so she was trying them out last night.  She knew what to do and was out of there in one hour.  Stinkeroo and I took almost the full two hours.  However, she made a lot of duplicate meals.  Stinkeroo and I had each selected twelve different meals so we could try a variety of dishes.

(8)  I will do some things differently next time.  Nothing major – just how I mix up the ingredients.  For example, for dishes where salt and pepper or other seasonings were added to meat – I just dumped it all in zipper bags.  Next time I’ll put the meat in a mixing bowl and MIX it well with the seasonings before adding it all to a bag.  Last night I came home and re-packaged four of my dishes because I didn’t like how I did it at the store.  I also had signed up for “full” meals (serves 4-6) rather than “half” meals (serves 2-3).  That’s too much.  I won’t do that again either. 

(9) The store we were at only opened LAST WEEK!  So I just happened upon it a few days after it opened.  I predict they’ll do a booming business.  They have a wonderful location.  Stinkeroo and I have lots of friends who are waiting to hear about our “trial run” last night.  If we give good reports, they’ll be signing up for it, too.

(10)  I think it would be a good franchise to buy.  I’m not personally interested in it, but I think it would be a profitable business – depending on the location.

Later Note:  TASTE VERDICTS:  Go HERE to read the verdicts of the various dishes as we try them. 

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Going to “The Dinner A’Fare” Tonight

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

I’m excited! My daughter and I are meeting at “The Dinner A’Fare” (Slogan: 12 Meals. 2 Hours. Simple) tonight to make twelve dinners to take home and freeze. Last weekend when I was out shopping, I just happened to walk past their store. It had opened recently, and I didn’t even know it was there. I was headed to Office Depot which was a few doors down in the strip mall where I was shopping. I looked at their literature, and after I got home I got online and signed up.

Then I called both my daughter and daughter-in-law to see if they wanted to go at the same time. A few months back, we had all talked about going to one of the make-dinner-ahead-of-time-and-freeze-it places together. This was our opportunity. Unfortunately, my daughter-in-law has to work late tonight. So it’ll just be me and Stinkeroo, my daughter.

Here’s are the twelve dishes I’ll be making along with their official descriptions:

3 lb. Savory Herb Prime Rib Roast (Back by popular demand!! Last year we introduced our Prime Rib Roast that is out of this world and perfect for your Holiday dinner. Rubbed in a savory herb bouquet of rosemary, thyme, parsley, kosher salt, and coarse ground pepper, you can’t go wrong with this classic Christmas dinner. Serve this classic, mouthwatering roast with our flavorful horseradish sauce.)

(Note: 12/28/06  We had the prime rib roast for dinner tonight.  It is absolutely wonderful!  One of the best and tastiest meals I’ve ever had.  I served it with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, and fruit salad).

Pork Chops with Red Beans and Rice (The Dinner A’Fare has partnered with Uncle Ben’s to design this delicious dish. We take our center cut pork chops and marinate them in flavorful seasoning. Cooked to perfection and then paired with Uncle Ben’s red beans and rice! When all else fails, call your favorite uncle! A great Creole flavor to spice up your night! )

Note: (2-5-07) This was the last meal from this set that I cooked.  It was wonderful!  RT said it was one of the best flavored meals I’ve fixed.  Very tasty.  One thing for sure – the meat that The Dinner A’Fare uses is high quality.

Chili Lime Crab Cakes (Looking for a meal that’s light and delicious after shopping all day? Our crab claw meat is mixed with saltine crackers, ranch dressing, chili garlic sauce, egg, and limejuice. These are cooked quickly on the stovetop and served hot. Great for dinner or even better over a salad for lunch.)

(Note: 12/27/06 – We had these for dinner tonight, and they are wonderful!  I’d order this every month!)

Homemade Calzones (Any way you like it! We start with pizza cheese and add mushrooms, ham, peppers, onions, sausage, and pepperoni. Make them all the same, or different for each family member! Bake and serve with provided marinara sauce.)

(Note: 12/27/06 – Stinkeroo fixed these for her family tonight and she reported that they were delicious.  As a matter of fact, everyone liked them so much, she wishes she had gotten two dinners of them!)(Note: 1/5/07 – I liked these, too)

Bacon Bleau Cheese Turkey Burgers (Everyone loves burgers, but you can’t resist this melt in your mouth healthy version. Lean ground turkey; crumbled bacon and bleu cheese are a perfect combination. Leave out the bun for a low carb dinner.)

(later note: Stinkeroo cooked these and thought they were good – thought they would have been better if she’d grilled them rather than cooking them in the oven.  That means I’ll be sure to grill mine outside when I cook mine.) (Later Note:  We grilled ours outside, and they were delicious!  I’d buy these again, too.)

Parmesan Tilapia Filets (The whole family, especially the little ones, loves our Parmesan tilapia. These fillets are brushed with butter and then coated in Parmesan cheese and Italian breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. So easy to cook at home, they go straight from the freezer to the oven.)

Note:  VERY tasty – enjoyed these a lot (1-28-07) Stinkeroo said that even her 3 and 5-year olds loved this tilapia.

Crispy Barbecue Chip Chicken (This healthier version of fried chicken is actually baked in the oven! Kids of all sizes with love these tender chicken breasts rolled in crushed potato chips and baked with a crunchy outside! We’ve used Barbecue chips to give it that extra zing!)

(Later note: Stinkeroo cooked these and she and her husband both felt sick afterwards.  She said it was because the dish was so greasy.  I’m going to throw out the crushed potato chips before I cook mine and used baked Lays chips instead) (Even later note:  I used baked Lays barbecue chips, and they were wonderful.  Still a little greasy, though.  I don’t think it is necessary to pour the liquid butter on them before baking.  However, the taste was great, and we blotted some of the grease off of them.  I might try my own version of these again soon)

Argentinean Grilled Flank Steak with Black Bean Vinaigrette (Our famous flank steak is back, seasoned with lemon pepper, garlic, basil, soy, and cilantro. Drizzle on the mouth watering vinaigrette made of crushed black beans, garlic flavored olive oil, cumin, vinegar, and diced onions! This is a fabulous dish to serve on Saturday night when the new neighbors are over!)

(Note:  RT kept eating this and talking about how good it was.  It really was fantastic.  We grilled the flank steak outside on the  gas grill.  Delicious!)

Chicken Piccata (Back by popular demand and a Dinner A’Fare favorite! We use our boneless skinless chicken breasts, and pound them thin and lightly coat them with flour. Sautéed together with an out of this world sauce of lemon juice, white wine, capers and butter, our chicken breasts will melt in your mouth.)

(Note:  I loved this!  The lemon taste was a little strong, and there was too much butter.  However, those are minor criticisms.  It was really tasty and we ate every bite of it.  However, when Stinkeroo fixed hers, she said  they didn’t like the strong lemon taste and ended up not eating all of it.  Tone down the lemon, and it would be great.)

Crispy Orange Beef (Who doesn’t love our tender Aged Angus Flank Steak lightly floured and sautéed crisp. Simmered with Asian flavors of beef broth, low sodium soy sauce, garlic, and orange marmalade! This orange infused beef dish is best topped with some crispy Chinese noodles!)

(Later note: This was the first dish I cooked.  I think I cooked it wrong or something.  I must’ve missed the “lightly floured” part.  It ended up being good – but not as good as it sounds)

Provencal Chicken (Everyone loves an easy chicken dish to just throw in the oven! We use our boneless, skinless chicken breasts and season them in basil, a southern French favorite. Cooked along with navy beans, colorful bell peppers and diced tomatoes this dish is a perfect winter comfort food.)

(Note:  Very good dish!)

Chicken Alloute (Cold winter nights call for some hearty flavorful dinners! We top our boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a creamy garlic and herb whipped cheese. Wrap this bundle of flavor up inside a flaky pastry crust and dinner is off to the oven!)

(Later note: Stinkeroo cooked this and said it was delicious!) (Still later note:  I liked these, too – unlike other dishes, this was a little bland, but still good)

It all SOUNDS delicious! I’ll let you know how closely these glowing descriptions match up with reality. Stay tuned.

(January 25, 2007 update – click here)

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Grape Salad (using whole green and red seedless grapes)

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Last Friday we had the regular monthly meeting of reading specialists in our school district.  We had a potluck lunch, and Gail, one of the other RS, brought this Grape Salad.  My niece had made it at Thanksgiving, and I wanted to get the recipe.  Gail sent it to me this morning. So here it is.  It’s quite good, although I have to admit I’d rather have plain grapes myself.

Grape Salad

2 lbs. green seedless grapes

2 lbs. red seedless grapes

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

8 oz. sour cream

½ cup white sugar

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup brown sugar

Wash and pat dry the grapes – leave them whole.   Beat cream cheese until soft. Add sour cream and white sugar, beat until creamy. Gently fold in grapes and cheddar cheese. Pour into large serving dish or bowl. Stir together pecans and brown sugar. Sprinkle over grape mixture; refrigerate overnight.

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Wraps made from turkey, ham and cheese on garden/spinach/herb, sundried tomato/basil or whole grain wheat tortillas

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

RT needed something to take to the office tomorrow for their Christmas party.  We were going to buy some wraps at Kroger, but they didn’t have any fresh ones.  So, I decided to make some myself.  Looking at the ones at Kroger (the ones that had been there since Friday), I figured it couldn’t be too difficult.  Here’s the photo of the tray after I finished them.  I think it looks very nice.  And since we snacked on the “leftovers”, we already know that the wraps taste really good.  The wraps are now in the refrigerator – ready for RT to take to work with him tomorrow morning.  They were surprisingly easy and quick to make.  I don’t know why I haven’t tried making wraps before.  I’ll be looking for more wrap recipes now since these turned out so well.  Here’s how I made them:


3 large tortillas (large, wrap size – whatever “flavor” you prefer.  I  bought three packages of tortillas: garden spinach herb, sundried tomato basil, and whole grain wheat.  I had no idea how many tortillas I’d need, but that ended up being WAY too many tortillas.  I used three tortillas total – one of each kind – for the tray in the photograph. RT and I will be eating tortillas a lot in the next couple weeks in order to use them all up).  

1 package of thinly sliced or shaved sandwich meat – turkey and ham. 

1 package of grated sharp cheddar

A few grape tomatoes

A few leaves of romaine lettuce

Mayonaise (I used light mayo)

Take a tortilla and spread mayonaise on it.  Sprinkle it with grated cheese.  It’s important to put the cheese on top of the mayo in order to hold the cheese in place.  Layer the lettuce and then the meat on top.  Starting on one side, roll the tortilla as tightly as possible – being careful to keep the fillings inside.  Once it is rolled up, take a knife and cut off 1-inch slices.  Line your serving tray with lettuce, and use the grape tomatoes as a garnish.

Very tasty!

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Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Okay, I have a new recipe for you.  I made this for dinner last night, and it was delicious!  It made two pans worth – one for last night (with enough extra for lunch today), and a pan for another evening soon.  I love having frozen meals that I can pop from the freezer to the oven for a good dinner on a busy evening.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 cups chicken (cooked, deboned, diced.  I just bought a package of chicken – already cooked and diced)

1 can black beans (drain and rinse)

1 can whole kernel corn (drain)

1 can mild tomatoes and jalopenos  (Rotel)

2 cans enchilada sauce

several cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)

8 flour tortillas

Prepare a baking pan by spraying it with Pam.  Preheat the over to 350. 

Mix the chicken, beans, corn, Rotel and 2 cups shredded cheese together in a bowl.  Take a tortillas and spoon some of the mixture in the middle and fold in the sides.  Place the enchilada folded-side down in the pan.  Prepare all the tortillas the same way.

Pour the enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas.  Then sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Take the foil off the top for the last few minutes.

You can add sour cream or whatever topping you like.  We ate them with nothing extra and a tossed salad on the side, and it was an absolutely scrumptious meal.

Besides being delicious, the best thing about this meal is how easy it is.  I got home around 5:15 – and by 6:00 we were eating dinner.  Just dump the ingredients in the bowl, mix, fill the tortillas and bake for awhile.  Couldn’t be easier.

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Apple Dumplings – The Blues City Cafe Style

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

I visited Memphis last week (see previous post), and when we had dinner at the Blues City Cafe, people were buying their apple dumplings like crazy.  Our table was near the counter, and so I was able to watch the cook/chef put the dish together several times.  This is how he did it:

Apple Dumplings – Blues City Cafe Style

(1) Take a small cast iron skillet (one-serving size), place it in the oven until it is piping hot.

(2) Toss a scoop of butter in the skillet (probably a tablespoon) – it will sizzle and melt.

(3) Take an apple dumpling (They had them pre-made and packaged individually on a small paper plate covered with plastic wrap) and heat it in the microwave.  Then dump the dumpling in the skillet.

(4) Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the dumpling.

(5)  Drizzle caramel syrup all over it.

(6) Enjoy

They’d bring the apple dumplings to the table in the skillet with a little potholder fitted on the handle. They had a small wooden tray under the skillet.  They were selling like hotcakes. 

Two of the teachers in our group of ten order the dumplings and passed them around for everyone to taste.  I declined – don’t ask me why.  Everyone raved on and on about how delicious it was!  Even the next day some of them were still talking about it.  I was sorry I didn’t taste it myself.

The question now is:  How did they make the apple dumplings?  I don’t know their recipe, but here’s how I’ve made them in the past:

Cut up some apples – very thin slices, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon or apple pie spice.  Wrap a pie crust (or a flattened, uncooked canned biscuit) around about 1/4 cup of apple slices.  Crimp the edges to seal it.  Use a knife to make a couple vents in the top.  Dot with butter.   Make however many apple dumplings you want.  One per serving.  Bake at 350 until golden brown.

Once they’re cooked you can add ice cream, caramel sauce – whatever sounds good.  I remember once I made apple dumplings with whole apples – coring them, filling the center with brown sugar and nuts, wrapping pastry around them and baking them.  They were good – but much too big for a single serving.

My niece has a recipe that is super easy for apple dumplings, although I’m not sure how you could change this around so it can be cooked in little cast iron skillets.  However, maybe you don’t want to change it around.  Here’s her recipe:

Lisette’s Apple Dumplings

2 large apples

2 cans (10-ounce) crescent rolls

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

1 12-ounce can Mountain Dew

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with Pam.

Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside (cut out the seeds, of course).

Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Then pour the Mountain Dew over them.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in the oven until golden brown.

Nothing’s better than warm apple pie with ice cream, and I’m already searching stores for some of those little skillets.  I intend to serve apple dumplings in them the next time I have company.

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